On “Blue Bloods,” showrunner Kevin Wade has struck just the right balance between tragic moments and crowd pleasers. Case in point? The fate of Joe Hill (Will Hochman), son of the late Joe Reagan and grandson to Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck).
In an interview with TV Insider this month, Wade shared some of the calculus behind the show’s Season 11 plot arcs and character development.
Specifically, Wade revealed that Joe Hill nearly suffered his father’s fate. Hill has been working undercover for ATF. And his father died while working undercover. As the season finale progresses, the Reagans begin to fear that Hill will be killed like his father was.
But Wade didn’t want to test the audience’s patience with too much tragedy. And with the show having seen enough turnover, he didn’t want to bump a likeable actor, either.
‘Blue Bloods’ Didn’t Want To ‘Kill Off’ A ‘Golden Goose’
Wade shared that he really wanted Season 11 to end on a satisfying note for the audience. And Joe Hill has apparently been a fan favorite, so killing him off would definitely upset people.
“Considered it, but shut it down,” Wade told TV Insider of a potential tragic turn for Hill. “It does echo the season finale of our very first season where all the Reagans band together to find their brother and son Joe Reagan’s killers and bring them to justice. We circled back with that obviously with his son, but wanted it to be a satisfying ending and really like Will Hochman and certainly didn’t want to kill off that particular golden goose.”
“We considered it for a second,” he added. “And then [we] came to our senses and thought, let’s just tell a great story and have them be able to pull him out.”
Hill’s Situation Is Tough On Frank Reagan
Selleck’s Frank Reagan struggles with his dual roles as police commissioner and Hill’s grandfather. He is very afraid for Hill, especially after what happened to Hill’s father. And Wade said “Blue Bloods” star Selleck chose to emphasize the human drama of Reagan’s family loyalty.
“It was almost like, forget the police commissioner stuff,” Wade said. “What does a grandfather do with his grandson when in his life and under his command, the boy’s father and his own son was lost in the line of duty? What we tried to write, and certainly what Tom played, was 99% a family man faced with his worst nightmare. He has a little speech somewhere in the second part of it, where he talks about tempting the fates. It’s a very deep-seated fear of what life can hand you because he was handed [that] once already.”
Fortunately for the audience, Wade chose not to push that drama to the breaking point with a tragic ending. But that means Hill’s character may be back for more in Season 12.